The Magnetic North: Travels in the Arctic
'Sara Wheeler is the literary maestro of the earth's frozen regions... The prose is startling and sharp-edged as the icy landscapes themselves' Financial Times
Smashing through the Arctic Ocean with the crew of a Russian icebreaker, herding reindeer across the tundra with Lapps and shadowing the Trans-Alaskan pipeline with truckers, Sara Wheeler discovers a complex and ambiguous land belonging both to ancient myth and modern controversy.
The Magnetic North is an adroit combination of history, science and reflection in which Wheeler meditates on the role of the Arctic: fragmented lands which fed imaginations long before the scientists and oilmen showed up (not to mention desperado explorers who ate their own shoes).
The Magnetic North tells of all this, plus gulag ghosts, old and new Russia, colliding cultures and bioaccumulated toxins in polar bears.
'A stylish and engaging account of some of the world's most mysterious, unknowable spots and, like the best travel writing, is infused with the writer's reflections on growing up, life and death' Daily Telegraph
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